The LIFE program is a youth philanthropy group supported by the LaGrange County Community Foundation. LIFE provides an opportunity for young people to gain experience in community service and charitable giving. The students provide oversight to funds held at the Community Foundation. This school year LIFE offered two grant cycles awarding $11,926 to youth-serving organizations and school projects. For the complete list of LIFE grants click here.
We began our community service projects in November, serving lunch to the elderly at the LaGrange County Council on Aging.
In December students adopted a family for Christmas through LaGrange County Miracle Tree, providing funds from their own pockets as well as Community Foundation funds to support a child in need. In the spirit of Christmas, members also passed out cookies and provided in-person thank you to Sheriff’s department and local police departments.
In March the students attended Dekko Foundation’s Philpressionism, a youth pod retreat, in Kendallville. The retreat lasted two days and was packed full of community service ideas, leadership, and relationship building. They also performed a skit detailing what LIFE is.
As our LIFE program comes to an end for this school year we are headed to Miller’s Merry Manor to clean up their courtyard.
Our last meeting in May will be the retreat, where we will spend some time reflecting, team bonding, and participating in one last community service project, picking up trash along the Pigeon River as we kayak.
As we look ahead to the 2022-2023 school year, we will continue encouraging philanthropy in our community through LaGrange County youth.
Community Foundation approves three-year strategic plan
We are pleased to introduce the next 3-year strategic plan for the LaGrange County Community Foundation. The LaGrange County Community Foundation Board of Directors and Foundation staff have worked together over several months to develop this plan.
With the assistance of Jen Pendleton from Aly Sterling Philanthropy, we hosted focus groups with LaGrange County nonprofit directors and community leaders, and surveyed key stakeholders, including donors, board members, nonprofits, community partners and volunteers in October of 2021.
Our Board of Directors and staff listened to the feedback and ideas from those conversations at our annual Board Retreat in November. We challenged ourselves to be open to new ideas, to strive for excellence, and to listen to community needs. After several months of evaluating our goals and initiatives, our Board of Directors approved the strategic plan in February 2022.
The Foundation identified four strategic areas that will guide the core of our work: Asset Development, Community Catalyst, Leadership and Strengthen Nonprofits.
Asset Development – We will proactively raise funds to increase impact around community needs. By expanding our outreach efforts, we seek to grow funds and engage new donors in supporting charitable purposes and community needs in LaGrange County.
Community Catalyst – We will define and develop the Foundation’s role as a community leader. Staying to true to our mission as a grantmaker, we seek to find additional opportunities for collaborative solutions and partnerships around our community’s greatest needs.
Leadership – We will foster, recruit, and retain people, resources, and knowledge to excel in our mission. By creating a leadership pipeline in the Foundation’s board and staff, we will broaden the Foundation’s ability to meet community needs and be more effective and efficient in our work.
Strengthen Nonprofits – We will align Foundation grant and education opportunities with nonprofit needs. By providing more resources to our local nonprofit community, we seek to build up their organizational sustainability and capacity to do more good work.
We will carry out these areas of focus by following the Foundation’s mission statement: To inspire and sustain generosity, leadership and service in LaGrange County.
We are guided by our core values: approachable, caring, catalyst, connector, empowering, trusted.
We will keep our eyes on helping generous people make a difference in LaGrange County and continue to support initiatives in LaGrange County that promote a better quality of life for all.
Jean was an advocate for education, teaching for Westview School Corporation for 25 years. She had a passion for children and taught fifth grade at Topeka Elementary, retiring in 1988.
Jean was deeply rooted in Topeka, serving as a member of the Topeka United Methodist Church since 1950 and the United Methodist Women of the church, holding many offices and positions in both. She was a homemaker, Sunday school teacher, and Girl Scout leader. Jean received the Thanks Award for her 10 years of service in Scouting.
She enjoyed history and education, serving as a member of the Topeka Area Historical Society as Vice President. It was clear Jean had a passion for education and community.
The Jean Seagly Crouse Memorial Scholarship Fund will support a LaGrange County high school senior pursuing a degree in education. The scholarship fund will begin to accept applications in the fall of 2023.